During the construction for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, an archaeological site of tremendous importance resurfaced: the Cais do Valongo (Valongo Wharf), main port of entry of enslaved African people to the Americas. Between 1811, the year of its construction, through the two decades of its operation, around a million Africans walked across the Cais do Valongo's paved ground before being subjugated to the gruesome process of having their bodies exchanged for money. Exactly two centuries after its construction, in 2011, the buried wharf reemerged as a physical testimony of a history that is never again to be forgotten.

That same year, the state government of Rio de Janeiro attempted...

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